Poet’s prose checks out in supermarket
A Nelson man’s love of poetry has won him admiration from all corners, including the food aisles of his local supermarket.
John Oliver has been writing and performing his works for the last 15 years.
He said his love of literature and the spoken word stemmed from his childhood in England, where his parents made sure he was equipped with the best material possible.
‘‘At five years of age when I first started going to school, the others in the class didn’t know what I was talking about because I was reading Shakespeare,’’ he said.
‘‘My mother and father used to always say, ‘read, Johnny, read you’ll never regret it’ - well, you bet your life I haven’t regretted it.’’
The subject matter of his poems vary from a light-hearted ode to the former owners of the Kohatu Hotel to some deeper musings as well as personal events in his life.
Every poem had a meaning, Oliver said, although some backstories he preferred to keep to himself.
The 87-year-old kept his poems in a black suitcase alongside photos and souvenirs from his many travels throughout the years.
By his own admission, remembering every line can be a struggle at his age. Fortunately,
‘‘We were both reaching for a jar of honey and I got talking with her - the conversation got round to poetry and mentioned I said I wrote my own.’’
most of his works have been put to print and laminated to prolong their longevity.
However, he was always happy to ‘‘rattle off’’ a verse to anyone who would appreciate it, including one woman who he gave an impromptu reading to while shopping in Countdown on St Vincent St last month.
‘‘We were both reaching for a jar of honey and I got talking with her the conversation got round to poetry and mentioned I said I wrote my own,’’ he said.
‘‘She asked if I’d recite one - so I did - and she said ‘‘that was beautiful.’’
Four weeks on, Oliver was hopeful of seeing his new fan again purely for the purposes of sharing a mutual appreciation for prose.
‘‘I was thinking the other day that I’d love to see her again.’’
Nelson man John Oliver and two of his many poems.